Ellerslie community remembers devastating tornado one year later

Ellerslie community remembers devastating tornado one year later

ELLERSLIE, Ga. (WTVM) - After making its way through Lee County, the tornado that hit Beauregard March 3 2019 crossed the river into Georgia and impacted parts of Muscogee and Harris counties.

People in Ellerslie, Georgia remember it like it was yesterday.

“I looked out and the tornado was coming from across the gas line right here and all the trees just started snapping off,” said Steven Dykes.

Another Ellerslie resident said he didn’t realize the severity of the damage until he went outside.

“You know, I could hear wind and things hitting the ground and stuff, but it didn’t sound like anything major," said Travis Greene. So, when I walked out to see trees literally laid out everywhere around the house, I was really surprised. Many in the area were shocked by the scene. Some saying it resembled a war zone with trees down blocking roadways, damaging roofs, and displacing some from their homes. But instead of panicking, this community started working to help their neighbors.”

Skipp Wyatt is the fire chief of Ellerslie’s volunteer fire department. His team worked countless hours clearing roadways and other people in the community also helped clear the debris. Wyatt said although a lot of the damage is cleared up, there was a tremendous loss in money due to tree damage.

“There’s more damage in trees and property like that then really houses. I mean, there’s a lot of money lost in trees. A lot of big trees, big timber, a lot of houses, though. It tore up some houses and they’re still waiting for insurance," said Wyatt.

Dykes also helped neighbors with storm recovery. He said it’s all about coming together in times of trouble.

“Harris County, we’re a little bit far out here. So sometimes, we don’t have the quickest respond time. Luckily, we have the Ellerslie fire department so our quickest response is each other,” Dykes said.

It’s taken almost a year for some families to get back in their homes and trees are still down in certain areas. The recovery process continues, but the state of the community is strong.

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